Notes on Job Interviews – Where I failed
I sent this to a friend, thought I'd share it here too. This isn’t a how to succeed at a job interview, it’s how I failed. The intended audience is this for airline pilot or aviation related interviewing but has some good advice for anyone else. Over the course of a year I interviewed seven times for several positions and was not offered a job, because of the following:
- Errors on the application. I didn’t think it was important to list that I was fired from a job, instead I listed that I left for another job, which, is only a half truth, but not the reason I left to begin with. Do a background check, addresses, pull IRS records, credit check, speeding tickets, arrests, ect. Get it all that stuff together, put it in a backpack, get all your s&$^ together, straight, early. Also to see what is out there…maybe something is wrong. Integrity: don’t omit information or details because its adverse.
- On the topic of having anything adverse on your record. Excellent way to not get a highly competitive job, however, no one ever thinks of the downrange consequences of things that happen after midnight. That being said, put it all on the application, have the integrity to put all the bad things that have happened on the application, explain what happened, and more importantly, what you learned from it.
- Logbooks. My logbooks were a mess, for the interviews I needed them for, and were not up-to-date. Highly recommend an electronic logbook program to add the totals. Present both at an interview. This is a big weakness for me. I still, years later, don’t have a documented record of my flight times that is accurate. I have a good ball park. I think that handwritten logs present better, especially if you track landings, approaches, and instrument time. However, you can’t beat an electronic record for accuracy and presentation. Also, take them all. I showed up to one interview with the last eight months of flying in an electronic format. Everyone else showed with ALL their logs. Not a great first impression
- Get your stories straight. During any HR interview…you’ll get asked about why you want to work at company X, leadership, customer service, ect. Any interviewing book will lead you to prep on these three questions. Have good solid stories prepped to give a good presentation. Also have stuff outside of work to talk about, sports, hobbies, ect. Present those stories to someone for critique, preferably someone that does hiring, they don’t have to be in the industry, though that helps. They should be experienced enough to give you good feedback.
- Not looking like you really want to be there. I am pretty calm, neutral faced, normally and it takes a bunch for me to break a smile, relax, and be confident in myself. Well, to motivate the interviewers show them you want to be a part of the team. I was told that, me, not looking like I wanted to be there, was the reason for at least one of my rejections. Practice in a mirror or with someone that can give you objective feedback.
- Qualifications. Not having qualifications that are competitive with what the company is looking for. Realization that I made on my first interview with a major airline…I didn’t really have what they were looking for in a candidate. Not flight hours or experience. That cost me about three years of seniority. Partly the opportunity wasn’t there in the industry, most of it was my focus.
- Prep now. I figured that a good time to prep was when I got the call. Wrong. I should have taken the time to prep when I wasn’t ready to interview. When you finally log that 1000th hour as a PIC and your flight times and resume are fat on good experience and you’re not prepped for an interview, you are so far behind the power curve…you’re about ready to stall out. That stick shaker should be going off in the back of your mind. Get all your stuff ready, I’s dotted, and T’s crossed. Prep early, prep often. When you get the call, all you should need to do is figure out logistics and dry clean that suit, and not get hot and heavy prepping your stuff. Not the time to find you have an error on your application. That’s how I lost my opportunities.
The common theme here is that it was all me, not a company, or some conspiracy keeping me from landing a job that I wanted. That was a hard look in the mirror. Correcting this took a lot of soul searching and some tough love and some sleepless nights. And in the end, it’s all working out. Thought I’d pass along what I did wrong, so others can avoid my mistakes.
Recommended reading. Here are a few books that I used to get myself straightened out. I’m not getting kickbacks from these. Just what I used. Though these were mostly too late.
*Checklist for Success by Linda Marshall
*Reporting Clear by Linda Marshall
*Interpreting HPI subscales https://237jzd2nbeeb3ocdpdcjau97-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Interpreting_HPI_Subscales.pdf
I don’t know if a prep service is helpful. Having someone scour your application for errors, ect is probably worth the money. That seems to be where all my errors have been.